About 30 activists rallied at the Indio Border Patrol station on Commerce Street on Wednesday to protest what they say is a “surge in deportations” in their community.
Activists also plan to protest these deportations during President Obama’s visit to the Coachella Valley next week, though a time and date hasn’t been set.
“We want to put a stop to it,” said Mario Lazcano, a member of the activist organization, Comite Latino.
Organizations like the Inland Congregations United for Change and the United Farm Workers Union joined Comite Latino on Wednesday afternoon.
“They need to know that they can’t cause this kind of fear. There’s fear in the community,” Lazcano said.
Border Patrol spokesman Miguel Garcia said it’s their job to protect the public.
“To do this, (Customs and Border Protection) has deployed a multi-layered, risk-based approach to enhance security of our borders while facilitating the flow of lawful people and goods entering the United States,” Garcia said in an email to The Desert Sun.
There were an estimated 16,300 arrests made within the El Centro Sector Border Patrol, which includes the Indio station, according to Garcia.
An estimated 4,600 arrests have been made this year.
President Obama has come under fire recently from immigrant rights groups throughout the country for the nearly 2 million deportations that have been carried out under his administration, which is more than were carried out under former President George W. Bush’s watch.
About 370,000 undocumented immigrants were deported in fiscal year 2013 — a 10 percent drop from last year’s record 410,000 removals — according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Nearly 60 percent of last year’s total removals had been previously convicted of a criminal offense, according to customs enforcement.
There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
A new national poll conducted by CNN found that Americans “overwhelmingly favor” a bill that would provide a path to citizenship to the undocumented.
House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders revealed a new “piecemeal approach” to immigration last week at the party caucus’ annual retreat in Maryland.
The plan focuses on stronger border security and a path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., along with creating new visas for foreign workers.
Boehner, however, said any action on immigration likely won’t happen this year because House Republicans don’t trust Obama on the issue.